...Is not overly sensitive

…Is not overly sensitive

***Parallel Processing

Parallel process is a clinical term used to describe the common occurrence in therapy when the therapist’s own experience is reflected in the client’s. It is when a client comes in grieving over the loss of a loved one while the therapist has only just experienced his or her own loss as well. It is a therapist helping a client through feelings of anger and hurt that the therapist has also just recently confronted.

But, here’s the thing: we are all in parallel process. Too often in life it goes unsaid.

Here is where I say it.***

I have a habit of burning myself when I am cooking.  It doesn’t happen too often, but often enough.  I get in a hurry and I do something foolish.  I try to grab something hot without an oven mitt…or I reach into the oven too quickly and the top of my hand grazes the oven rack…or I am cooking with oil and have it too hot or am standing too close.

I have the scars to prove it, unfortunately.  For the next few days after my carelessness I will be reminded of it continuously.  Every time I wash my hands with hot water, every time I take a shower, every time someone grabs my hand.  I’ll be reminded of my wound.  I’ll wince.  I’ll probably be a little hesitant in some actions, probably stiffen up, pull away at times.

When I was in college I heard someone give a devotion that has stuck in my head.  It was on 1 Corinthians 13…the love chapter.  Most of us are familiar with the words.  We hear them at weddings.  They are classic expressions of our Christian faith.

The devotion was beautifully simple, but the power that stayed with me is that the person delivering the devotion made the chapter practically applicable.

Starting with verse four through verse seven it reads:

Love is patient,

Love is kind.

It does not envy,

it does not boast,

it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,

it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,

it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Ok, so here is what you do.  Read the verses again, but instead think of a person you are in a relationship with…someone you LOVE…and use the verses as a checklist.  I’ll do it with Jon and my kids…

With Jon and the kids….am I patient?

With Jon and the kids…am I kind?

With Jon and the kids…do I envy?

With Jon and the kids… do I boast?

With Jon and the kids …am I proud?

With Jon and the kids …do I dishonor them in any way?

With Jon and the kids …am I self-seeking?

With Jon and the kids …do I get easily angered?

With Jon and the kids…do I keep a record of wrongs?

With Jon and the kids ….do I Love delight in evil…or do I rejoice with the truth?

With Jon and the kids …do I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere?

It isn’t a perfect fit for every relationship, every time…but, wow.  What a tool for conviction and correction!

The point is not that we will ever do it all perfectly.  Ultimately, these words only accurately and absolutely define the love that God has for us.  Only He can ever meet this checklist perfectly…and He does…always.

Still, we are commanded by Jesus in John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

            So, thinking about your loved ones…how do you fare with the checklist?

Oh, but are we to only love those really, really, really close to us?  There are those verses…love your neighbor as yourself.  Who is your neighbor?

With the cashier or the lady who just got in front of you in line…are you patient?  Are you kind?

I’m going to tell you that there is one here on the checklist that I think many of us REALLY struggle with and may not realize it.

…is not easily angered.

“I don’t have an anger problem.  This isn’t a problem for me.”


Let’s try it this way…

…is not easily offended.

Or how about this…

…is not overly sensitive.

Like the burn wounds on my hands after I have been careless in the kitchen, like how I will jump when someone grazes them…most of us have other wounds…wounds of



And, when people graze those wounds…we jump.

They are…overly sensitive.


Break easily.

We jump and when we do we might end up causing a bigger mess.  We “knock things over” in our sensitivity.  We do jumpy, messy, hurtful things like assuming we know why people did what they did.  We get rigid and edgy.  We give silent treatments.  We become huffy.

My wounds are going to be there…until they slowly heal.  And, I will probably graze things that cause me to jump.  My responsibility is to take this woundedness to Him, to work to be aware of it, to try to let Him contain it…my anger, my sensitivity, my …rather than the other person.

This isn’t the same as justified anger.

This is sensitivity over the look you THINK someone gave you, the snubbing you THINK you got at a party,  the meaning you THINK your spouse had in his words as he left for work.

This isn’t the same as healthy, gifted, discerning sensitivity.

This is fragile, handle with care, wounded, overreacting, I-think-I-have-it-all-figured-out sensitivity.

I like the movie Steel Magnolias, but I love the name even more.  It conveys a striking picture of femininity.  Tender and strong.  SENSITIVE and perseverant.

Sensitivity…healthy, discerning sensitivity is not a bad thing.

1 Peter 3:7 in no way offends me…when women are referred to as “weaker” vessel…because in 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul, the great MALE apostle boasts in his weakness, acknowledging that through his weakness God’s power is revealed.

Weakness, sensitivity…these are not the enemy.

Reacting, hurting people out of our wounds is.

…is not easily angered.

…is not easily offended.

…is not overly sensitive.

The chances that the acquaintance snubbed you at that shower is slim to none.  She probably had a lot on her mind.  And, if she really did snub you…well, let it go.  Don’t waste valuable energy trying to figure it out.

Don’t waste valuable energy that could be invested elsewhere…like in the great action word…

Love.  (see checklist above)